Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(5), 9906-9946; doi:10.3390/ijms14059906
Review

Cationic Antimicrobial Polymers and Their Assemblies

1 Biocolloids Lab, Departamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Química, Universidade de São Paulo, Caixa Postal 26077-05513-970, São Paulo, Brazil 2 Departamento de Análises Clínicas e Toxicológicas, Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas, Universidade de São Paulo, CEP 05508-900, São Paulo, Brazil
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 February 2013; in revised form: 20 April 2013 / Accepted: 23 April 2013 / Published: 10 May 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Polymers)
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Abstract: Cationic compounds are promising candidates for development of antimicrobial agents. Positive charges attached to surfaces, particles, polymers, peptides or bilayers have been used as antimicrobial agents by themselves or in sophisticated formulations. The main positively charged moieties in these natural or synthetic structures are quaternary ammonium groups, resulting in quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs). The advantage of amphiphilic cationic polymers when compared to small amphiphilic molecules is their enhanced microbicidal activity. Besides, many of these polymeric structures also show low toxicity to human cells; a major requirement for biomedical applications. Determination of the specific elements in polymers, which affect their antimicrobial activity, has been previously difficult due to broad molecular weight distributions and random sequences characteristic of radical polymerization. With the advances in polymerization control, selection of well defined polymers and structures are allowing greater insight into their structure-antimicrobial activity relationship. On the other hand, antimicrobial polymers grafted or self-assembled to inert or non inert vehicles can yield hybrid antimicrobial nanostructures or films, which can act as antimicrobials by themselves or deliver bioactive molecules for a variety of applications, such as wound dressing, photodynamic antimicrobial therapy, food packing and preservation and antifouling applications.
Keywords: cationic polymers; cationic surfactants and lipids; self-assembled films and nanoparticles; antimicrobial activity

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MDPI and ACS Style

Carmona-Ribeiro, A.M.; de Melo Carrasco, L.D. Cationic Antimicrobial Polymers and Their Assemblies. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 9906-9946.

AMA Style

Carmona-Ribeiro AM, de Melo Carrasco LD. Cationic Antimicrobial Polymers and Their Assemblies. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2013; 14(5):9906-9946.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Carmona-Ribeiro, Ana M.; de Melo Carrasco, Letícia D. 2013. "Cationic Antimicrobial Polymers and Their Assemblies." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 14, no. 5: 9906-9946.

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